DREAMS AND VISIONS
(Joel 2:28) “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
Can God guide us through dreams and visions today? Or is this a thing of the past? Many are surprised to know that dreams and visons are not only an Old Testament way of God communicating with people, but also the New Testament has references as well.
Most of our dreams are just nonsense dreams whereby our subconscious is working out the events of the day. Nightmares can just be our fears emerging or something the devil is trying to use to upset us. (We should wake up and pray!) But every now and then God just may speak to us through a dream and give us a message we need.
There are three basic categories of dreams one may receive from the Lord. GUIDANCE (Jacob – Gen 46:1-4); PROPHETIC (Joseph – Gen 37:5-11); WARNING (Wise men – Mat 2:12).
How about visions? Visions occur while awake, and not sleeping. Not only do we see prophets of old having visions, but think about all the visions in New Covenant times: Ananias has a vision of the apostle Paul (Acts 9:10-18); Cornelius and Peter receive separate visions that led to Cornelius’ conversion (Acts 10); Paul receives a vision to go to Macedonia during his missionary travels (Acts 16:10); Paul has a much needed and encouraging vision in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11); Paul speaks of other visions and revelations that he had to keep humble about (2 Cor 12:1-10); and the apostle John has a vision that incorporates the book of Revelation.
Now it is important to remember that any kind of revelation from the Lord needs to agree with the authority of scripture. God will never tell you something in contradiction to His inspired Word (2 Tim 3:16-17). So many cults and religions have been started by false revelations. God warned of prophets or dreamers who would say something false and lead people astray (Deu 13:1-5). Yes, even true believers can get wacky with things like dreams and visions. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s be balanced. You might think you have zero propensity for this kind of thing, but don’t write off those who do. And those who do should not think others are less spiritual because they have little or no leanings this way.
God can even reach non-believers in this manner! We have often wondered how people can receive the Lord in countries that are closed to the gospel. But many have testified that Jesus revealed Himself in a dream and they turned to the Lord and got saved! God always has His ways! (Job 33:15-16) In a dream, in a vision of the night, When deep sleep falls upon men, While slumbering on their beds, 16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction.